Skip to main content

Full text of "Organizing methods in the steel industry"

See other formats


5917 3000934143 













I f>h 

'Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry''' is 
written with the object of aiding the most active workers in 
the steel industry and steel workers generally in organizing 
the industry in the present campaign. There can be no doubt 
that a mastery of the principles developed in this pamphlet, 
principles based on practical experiences, would result in a 
greater efficiency on the part of all those now engaged in 
organising the industry. It is really a manual of organisation 
methods in the organisation of the unorganised in the mass 
Production industries. 

The organisational principles and methods here developed 
can be easily adapted to problems of organising other mass 
production and large-scale industries such as auto, rubber, 
chemical, textile, etc. There is a great poverty in the labor 
movement of such literature. This poverty is felt also in 
labor schools. This manual should prove very popular for 
trade union courses in the various workers' labor schools. 
Let us hope that this is a beginning of the development of 
such literature to fill the need in the present growth of the 
trade union movement. 

Jack Stachel 

Organizing Methods 
in the Steel Industry 


National Chairman of the 
Communist Party and Leader 
of the 1919 Steel Strike 




Introduction 3 

I. General 6 

II. Organizational Forms and Functions 7 




III. Mass Agitation 9 

1. slogans 10 

2. pubicity and printed matter io 



IV. Mass Organization 13 




V. Special Group Work 17 


2. NEGROES 17 


4. YOUTH l8 

5. WOMEN 18 

VI. Company Unions 19 

VII. Special Organizational Work 22 





P. O. BOX 1+8, STA, D, NEW YORK, OCTOBER, 1936. 


npHE METHODS outlined below of doing organization 
■*■ work in the steel industry are based upon the general 
principles of organization strategy and tactics developed in 
my pamphlet entitled: Unionizing Steel. They embody the 
lessons of the 191 9 strike and of other steel struggles, and 
they are suggested to the Steel Workers Organizing Com- 
mittee for its consideration. The general principles in my 
pamphlet may be very briefly summarized as follows: 

1. The organization work must be done by a working 
combination of the progressive and Left-wing forces in the 
labor movement. It is only these elements that have the 
necessary vision, flexibility and courage to go forward with 
such an important project as the organization of the 500,000 
steel workers in the face of the powerful opposition of the 
Steel Trust and its capitalist allies. As far as the Right-wing 
reactionaries (crystallized in the Executive Council of the 
American Federation of Labor) are concerned, they will not 
and cannot organize the steel workers. In 1936, even as in 
1 919, their attitude is one of sabotage and obstruction. 

2. The organization campaign must be based upon the 
principles of trade union democracy. That is, every effort 
must be made to draw the widest possible ranks of the work- 
ers into the activities of the leading, decisive committees, and 
also into the work of the organizers and the union generally. 
Only with such democracy, or systematic mass participation, 
can the great task of building the union be successfully ac- 

3. The organization movement must be industrial and na- 
tional in character. That is, (a) it must include every cate- 
gory of workers in the steel industry not merely a thin stra- 
tum of skilled workers at the top; and (b) the drive must be 

carried on energetically and simultaneously in every steel 
center, not simply here and there spasmodically in individual 
mills or steel centers. 

4. The campaign must develop a strong discipline among 
the organizers and workers in order to prevent the move- 
ment from being wrecked by company-inspired local strikes 
and other disruptive tendencies. The necessary discipline can- 
not be attained by issuing drastic orders, but must be based 
upon wide education work among the rank and file and the 
development of confidence among them in the cause and 
ultimate victory of the movement. 

5. The organization campaign must be a fighting move- 
ment. It must realize that if the steel workers are to be or- 
ganized they can only rely upon themselves and the support 
they get from other workers. While every advantage should 
be taken of all political institutions and individuals to de- 
fend the steel workers' civil rights and to advance their in- 
terests generally, it would be the worst folly to rely upon 
Roosevelt, Earle or other capitalist politicians to adopt 
measures to organize the steel workers. There is every prob- 
ability that only through a great strike can the steel workers 
establish their union and secure their demands, and this 
perspective must be constantly borne in mind. 

6. Although the steel workers must not place their faith 
in capitalist politicians, they should utilize every means to 
develop working class political activity and organization in 
the steel areas. Especially there should be organized local 
Labor Parties in the steel towns and thus foundations laid 
for an eventual Farmer-Labor Party. 

7. The movement must be highly self-critical. That is, 
there should be a constant re-examination of the organiza- 
tion methods used. Only in such a way can the necessary 
adjustments be made in tactics to fit the different situations. 
And only thus can the workers and organizers avoid defeat 
and pessimism and be given a feeling of confidence and sure 
success. It is a fatal mistake to try to apply blue-print meth- 

ods of organization to an industry that presents so many 
and varied situations as steel. Flexibility in the work is a 
first essential, and to achieve this requires drastic self- 

The situation in the steel industry is now highly favorable 
and if the organization work is prosecuted energetically, 
with due regard for the mistakes and weaknesses of past 
strikes and struggles, it will succeed. The present campaign 
of the Committee for Industrial Organization, of which 
John L. Lewis is the head, has many advantages over 1919. 
The industry is increasing production, the political situation 
is more favorable for maintaining the civil rights of the 
workers to meet and organize, the workers are in a more 
militant mood, the right of the workers to organize is more 
generally recognized, the campaign is being carried on upon 
the basis of one industrial union instead of 24 crafts, the 
illusions about company unionism are less now than ever, 
the campaign has the solid support of a dozen powerful 
trade unions, there are ample funds for the organizing work, 
the language problem is not as severe as in earlier years, the 
radio now enables the message of unionism to evade the em- 
ployers' censorship and to be carried directly into the steel 
workers' home. And, lastly, there is now in the field a strong 
Communist Party (which was not so in 1919) that is lending 
all its support to the success of the campaign. 

The steel workers have every reason to enter into the 
present campaign with full confidence of victory. Now is 
the time to break down the open-shop slavery that has cursed 
the steel industry ever since the defeat of the heroic Home- 
stead strikers in 1892. Now is the opportunity to build the 
Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers 
into a great union, powerful enough to bring a happier life to 
the steel workers and their families. 

I. General 

i. The steel workers cannot be organized by agitation 
alone; it requires thorough organization work to unionize 

2. The work must be coordinated and planned— per or- 
ganizer, per locality, per day, per week etc. 

3. Not mechanical blue-print tactics, but flexibility. The 
degree to which the proposals below can be applied depends 
on local conditions; the workers' mood and strength of 
organization, the attitude of the bosses and government to- 
wards the campaign, etc. 

4. The organization work must be carried out upon the 
basis of an energetic drive, not spontaneously and spas- 
modically, or merely a slow, gradual growth ; sags in activity 
and loss of momentum are very dangerous in the drive by 
weakening the confidence of the workers. 

5. A strong discipline should prevail all through the cam- 
paign, but each unit must develop a healthy initiative, based 
on a vigorous trade union democracy. 

6. A central aim must always be to draw the largest 
possible masses into direct participation in all the vital activ- 
ities of the union; membership recruitment, formulation of 
demands, union elections, petitions, pledge votes, strike votes, 
strike organization, etc. This gives them a feeling that the 
union is actually their movement. 

7. Self-criticism at all times is absolutely indispensable to 
the working out of proper tactics. 

8. High morale among the organizers and enthusiasm and 
confidence among the workers are indispensable conditions 
to the success of the work. 

9. Organizers do not know how to organize by instinct, 
but must be carefully taught. 

10. Every organizer and unit in the campaign must be 

activized at all times. The whole organizing force should 
move forward as one machine to the accomplishment of its 
goal of building the union. 

11. Hard work and sobriety are basic essentials for suc- 
cess. Chair-warmers and irresponsibles should be made to 
feel unwelcome in the organizing crew. 

12. Every step taken in the campaign must have as its 
central purpose the direct recruitment of new members. The 
main slogan now is : "Join the Union". 

II. Organizational Forms and Functions 

1. Structure of Organizing Forces. 

The organizing forces of the steel campaign should be 
formed on the following general basis: 

(a) The full-time and part-time organizers in the local- 
ities and districts should be formed into definite committees, 
each with a secretary and with sub-committees for publicity, 
Negro, youth, women and defense. They should hold regular 
weekly meetings at definite times and places. 

(b) A corps of volunteer organizers should be created, 
carefully selected to avoid unreliable elements. Each paid 
organizer should be commissioned as a captain of a crew of 
volunteer organizers and made immediately responsible for 
their work. 

(c) Each local of the Amalgamated Association should 
appoint an organizing committee of several members. 

(d) In the company unions informal organizing com- 
mittees should be set up to bring the company union mem- 
bership systematically into the Amalgamated Association. 

(e) Organizing committees should be set up in the vari- 
ous steel mills and in their departments, functioning either 
openly or privately, as conditions dictate. These should be- 
come the basis for future local unions. 

(f) The Central Labor Unions and other unions (espe- 
cially the railroad organizations) should set up local com- 
mittees to support the steel drive and to organize their own 
trades. The steel drive should aim at ioo per cent organiza- 
tion of all workers in the steel towns. 

(g) Similar supporting committees should also be formed 
among fraternal organizations, churches and elsewhere, 
where active sympathizers can be found for the steel 

(h) These local union, mill and other organizing com- 
mittees should meet together weekly (so far as is practical) 
jointly with the paid and volunteer organizers. 

(i) One or more national conferences of all the local 
unions and organizing forces should be held to coordinate 
the whole campaign of organization. 

(j) Periodic meetings of organizers should be held to 
study concrete methods of mass agitation and organization. 

2. Structure of the Union. 

(a) Local unions should be formed on the principle of 
one mill, one union. In large mills the local union should be 
sub-divided into branches according to main departments, 
but the local union branches should be kept linked together 
by a broad representative committee. 

(b) In the localities and districts the local steel unions in 
the several mills should be joined together into Steel Coun- 
cils based upon a broad rank-and-file representation. 

(c) The obsolete constitution of the Amalgamated Asso- 
ciation should be adapted in practice to permit of this form 
of departmentalized industrial union. 

3. Functions and Tasks. 

(a) Organizers should not work haphazardly. They 
should each be given very specific tasks and held responsi- 
ble for their fulfillment, specified individuals being charged 


with the work in certain mills, language groups, company 
unions, etc. 

(b) The principles of socialist competition should be in- 
troduced to stimulate the work of the organizers, to create 
friendly organizing rivalry between worker and worker, de- 
partment and department, mill and mill, town and town. 

(c) The greatest care should be taken to guard against 
spies and provocateurs entrenching themselves in the organ- 
izing crew and official leadership of the union but the organ- 
izers should avoid starting a "spy scare". Spies that are 
uncovered should be exposed to the workers. 

(d) Care should be taken to protect all lists of members. 
Loss of such lists and other important documents to com- 
pany sources is highly demoralizing to the workers, and 
careless organizers should be disciplined, 

(e) An absolutely strict control should be maintained over 
the finances, as loose financial methods always constitute 
a grave danger in large organizing campaigns. 

(f) The headquarters of the organizing committee and 
the union should be located conveniently to the mills, but not 
directly under the eyes of the mill officials. 

(g) Organized protection of organizers, officers, local 
headquarters, etc., should be provided for in local situations 
of acute struggle. 

(h) All organizers should submit detailed weekly reports 
on their activities. 

(i) Organizers and other union officials handling funds 
should be regularly bonded with a bonding company. 

III. Mass Agitation 

The main objectives of the educational work should be 
to liquidate fear and pessimistic moods among the workers ; 
to convince them of the necessity for trade unionism to 
win their demands and the possibility for success in the 

muunjtiii j 

present campaign ; to rouse the enthusiasm, confidence and 
fighting spirit of the workers; to win public sentiment be- 
hind the campaign. 

i. Slogans. 

The mass of workers support the drive and join the union 
in order to improve their conditions by securing the satis- 
faction of their most urgent economic demands. This ele- 
mentary fact should never be lost sight of. The whole 
campaign of agitation must be based upon the populariza- 
tion of the sloganized major demands of the workers, 
together with their local demands. The whole steel industry 
should be saturated with these slogans. 

The economic demands of the union should be put forth 
immediately, but finally formulated and adopted at a broad 
national rank-and-file conference and then ratified by huge 
local mass meetings, pledge votes, etc., everywhere in the 
steel areas. 

2. Publicity and Printed Matter. 

The publicity material should be short and concrete, with 
concise facts about conditions in the industry and arguments 
for organization. Occasionally it should be printed in the 
most important foreign languages, the foreign-born workers 
liking to read their native languages even when they speak 
and understand English. 

(a) Handbills should be issued regularly by the local 
organizing committees and upon occasion by the various 
local steel unions. 

(b) Bulletins should be issued regularly by the local or- 
ganizing committees giving local news of the movement, and 
especially stressing the progress of the campaign in other 

(c) House-to-house distribution on a mass scale should 
be organized for handbills, bulletins and other literature. 


(d) A circulation as extensive as possible should be 
secured for the weekly paper, Steel Labor. 

(e) Shop papers should be issued wherever practicable 
by A.A. local unions. 

(f) Advertisements in the local papers are valuable and 
should be used regularly for important announcements to the 
steel workers. 

(g) Every means should be exercised to secure systema- 
tically favorable write-ups in the local press on the campaign. 

(h) Stickers are effective, but care must be exercised that 
they do not become a nuisance and antagonize public 
opinion, by being stuck up indiscriminately. 

(i) The wearing of union buttons in the plants is a very 
important organizing force, but care must be taken that it 
be not introduced until there is sufficient mass support and 
that the proper time is seized upon for its introduction, in 
order to prevent discharges of workers. 

(j) Advertisements in movies in small towns are often 
practical and effective. 

(k) Posters and window-cards should also be utilized on 
special occasions. 

3. Radio. 


The radio is an extremely important means for organizing 
workers in an industry such as steel where the company 
maintains terrorism to prevent the workers from attending 
open meetings. The radio takes the union message directly 
into the workers' homes, thus avoiding the censorship of the 
bosses' spies. 

(a) Local broadcasts should be organized weekly or semi- 
weekly in all important steel towns as one of the basic means 
of mass agitation. 

(b) Where radio time cannot be secured in the given steel 
localities, often the objective can be gained by using the 
radio in nearby towns. 

(c) Radio listeners' clubs should be systematically organ- 


ized on a wide scale, as many steel workers have no radios, 
(d) Radio speeches should be carefully prepared and 
should always give a direct stimulus to joining the union. 

4. Mass Meetings, Demonstrations, etc. 

The actual gathering together of workers in mass meet- 
ings and demonstrations is fundamental to the carrying on 
of a successful organization campaign. It gives the workers 
a confidence bred of their own numbers, and it enables the 
organizers to reach them personally with their educational 
appeal and organization methods. But such meetings, to 
achieve the best success, must be of the broadest mass char- 
acter. This means that they have to be thoroughly prepared, 
and all the batteries of publicity, organizers, etc., should be 
coordinated and stimulated for their organization. The entire 
agitation among the workers should aim directly to culminate 
in the holding of such mass meetings. One good mass meet- 
ing is better than two dozen indifferent ones. 

(a) The general mass meetings should be called not only 
under the' auspices of the local organizing committees but 
also on a mill or department scale by the local steel unions 
and in special cases also by the Central Labor Unions and 
other sympathetic organizations. 

(b) Meetings should be held especially in popular neigh- 
borhood halls, where the workers' fraternal lodges meet, 
where the workers dance, where their weddings take place, 
and where they are generally accustomed to going. 

(c) Every effort should be made to bring the maximum 
number of women and children to the steel mass meetings. 

(d) The question of mass meetings in company towns 
and in localities where the right of assembly is curtailed 
presents special problems. The danger of discharge of the 
workers makes it necessary that if mass meetings are held 
in such localities they must first have a broad basis of organ- 
ization among the workers, and a wide preliminary publicity. 



(e) At mass meetings it is important to get prominent 
out-of-town speakers to address the workers. 

(f ) Mill gate meetings should be held regularly at noon- 
time and at change-shifts where local conditions permit. 

(g) Very effective are small delegations of steel workers 
from one town or district to another and large mass delega- 
tions of workers from organized mills to unorganized mills. 

(h) Parades in steel towns are very effective in stimulat- 
ing the workers, provided the parades are well organized 
and have real mass support. Auto demonstrations are easily 
organized and are effective agitational means. 

(i) Music is important in a mass organizing campaign. 
Sound trucks should be freely employed in the mill gate 
and street meetings. An extensive use should be made of 
bands in mass meetings and street demonstrations. Platform 
singing should also be employed and mass singing wherever 

(j) Social affairs such as smokers, boxing matches, card 
parties, dances, picnics, various sports, etc., should be organ- 
ized to establish contacts with the workers, especially in 
localities where more open mass work is difficult. 


IV. Mass Organization 

1. Individual Recruitment. 

Individual recruiting is the base of all immediate organ- 
izational work in the steel industry. It is fundamentally im- 
portant in every steel center and may be the only form for 
the time being in company union towns and elsewhere where 
terroristic conditions prevail. An elementary aim in the cam- 
paign should be to activize the greatest numbers of workers 
to do this individual button-hole work. The campaign can 
succeed only if thousands of workers can be organized to 
help directly in the enrollment of members. This work can- 


not be done by organizers alone. Their main task is to organ- 
ize the most active workers among the masses in great 
numbers to do the recruiting. The tendency common in or- 
ganization campaigns to leave the signing of new members 
solely to the organizers and to recruitment in open meetings 
should be avoided. 

(a) The chain system of organization is one of the best 
means of individual recruitment. By this method workers 
undertake personally to organize their friends or to furnish 
their names so that they can be approached by other organ- 
izers. There should be a close check-up kept on all this work. 
_ (b) The list system can also be effective in difficult situa- 
tions. By this method trusted workers, volunteer organizers, 
women, etc., get lists upon which to collect the signatures' 
and fees of workers in various organizations, etc. 

(c) Individual recruitment in all its forms should be or- 
ganized, as far as possible, according to department and mill. 

(d) Thorough organizational arrangements should be 
made for signing up new members at social affairs radio lis- 
tening groups, small home meetings, in fraternal lodges, etc. 

(e) Key men in shops, fraternal organizations, etc., 
should be given close attention and all efforts made to sign 
them up, but this work should not be done at the expense of 
broad organization work among the masses. 

(f ) In closed company towns and elsewhere where terror- 
istic conditions prevail, secret methods of organization work 
are often imperative to prevent demoralizing discharge cases. 
Irresponsible exposure of the workers to discharge must be 
strictly avoided. In such cases, union organizers can often 
work temporarily as insurance agents, peddlers, etc. 

2. Open Recruiting. 

(a) Open recruitment should be carried on at all mass 
meetings, except where special conditions prevail that may 
expose the workers to discharge. Well-organized crews of 
clerks should be on hand to sign up the new members, issu- 


ing receipts on the spot. Often large numbers of potential 
members are lost through neglecting these elementary prepa- 
rations for their enrollment. 

(b) Local unions should hold mass meetings of the work- 
ers in their respective mills and sign up new members. There 
should also be special meetings held for the various numeri- 
cally important crafts where necessary. Often workers will 
join at such meetings when they will not sign up at large, 
open mass meetings. It is very important from an organiza- 
tional standpoint that the local unions and their branches be 
set up as soon as practical and a regular dues system estab- 
lished. This impresses the workers with the seriousness and 
stability of the movement. Merely signing up a worker does 
not organize him. He must be brought into a local union, 
given a union card, got to paying dues, attending union meet- 
ings, etc. 

3. Recruitment in Struggle. 

(a) The presentation of local demands to the company 
must be utilized to facilitate organization work. If the de- 
mands are granted, the workers feel they have won the vic- 
tory and can easily be brought into the unions by active 
organization work; if on the other hand the demands are 
rejected, the resultant anger among the workers can also be 
utilized readily for organization building. 

(b) Departmental and local strikes in this early stage in 
the organization campaign may be very dangerous. They 
should be avoided, especially in mills of the biggest steel 
corporations and now when the union is still weak. Where 
strikes occur, no time should be lost in formally enlisting 
all the workers into the union and every effort should be put 
forth to win the struggle. 

(c) Discharge cases for union activity should be taken 
care of immediately. Delay is very injurious to the workers' 
morale. While a vigorous fight for the reinstatement of the 
discharged workers goes on, these workers should be given 


relief in some form. Care should be exercised in the develop- 
ment of the organization work in the shops not to provoke 

^ (d) Defense cases should also receive immediate atten- 
tion, as it is demoralizing to the mass of workers to see their 
militant elements go to jail and nothing done for them. 
Especially vigorous campaigns must be made against all 
attempts at deportation of foreign-born workers. All this 
emphasizes the need to build the I.L.D. in the steel centers. 

(e) In case of a stubborn suppression of the right of 
assembly in steel towns, the union forces, in addition to using 
every legal channel for the restoration of their rights, should 
not hesitate at opening a free speech fight on the streets to 
force the city authorities to grant the workers halls. Such 
activity greatly awakens the workers and prepares them for 
organization and it should be supported by a very active re- 
cruitment drive. Sometimes it is necessary to buy either 
buildings or lots in order to secure meeting places. 

(f) The boycott can often be effectively used against 
hostile businessmen and professionals in steel towns and 
thereby to stimulate the organization campaign. In districts 
where the A.A. is strong (and there are well-established 
unions of miners, railroad men, etc.), the boycott can also be 
successfully applied against anti-union newspapers, Cham- 
bers of Commerce and city administrations. 

(g) In the election campaign all candidates should be 
called upon to state their position regarding the steel cam- 
paign in their public meetings. 

(h) The organization forces should take up concretely 
the question of placing demands upon the city and state 
authorities in connection with civic rights, etc. 


V. Special Group Work 

i. American Whites. 

This group is highly strategical in the steel industry, com- 
prising most of the skilled workers, and also occupying a 
key position in the social life of the steel communities. Every 
effort must be made to win them. Special efforts should be 
made to fight against employer-cultivated craft union, com- 
pany union, anti-foreigner, anti-Negro and anti-Red tenden- 
cies among these workers. Active work should be carried 
on in their many organizations such as the American Legion, 
various fraternal orders, etc. Among the organizing crew 
there should be many American-born skilled steel workers. 

2. Negroes. 

It is absolutely essential that the large number of Negroes 
in the industry be organized. For this, special Negro organ- 
izers are imperative. Special demands for Negroes must be 
formulated and widely popularized. Prominent Negro speak- 
ers, including those of the National Negro Congress, should 
be brought into the steel districts to address the meetings. 
When necessary, special meetings of Negro steel workers 
should be called. The Negroes should become members of 
the regular local A.A. unions with full rights. Close attention 
should be paid to bringing them into responsible official posts 
in the unions and in the organizing crew. There should also 
be immediately developed an active campaign against the 
prevalent jim-crow practices in the steel towns and steel 
industry. Local organizations of Negroes should be enlisted 
in support of the campaign. 

3. Foreign-Born. 

The foreign-born workers still form a very large mass of 
the steel workers and require special methods by the organ- 


izers. There should be organizers speaking the principal 
foreign languages of the mills. Literature must be issued in 
these mam languages. Special methods should be put forth to 
enroll the militants among the foreign-born workers and 
systematic recruitment work in the many fraternal and other 
organizations that exist among this group of workers. 

4. Youth. 

In order to organize this highly important section of the 
working masses in the steel industry it is necessary to use 
certain special methods in addition to the system of the gen- 
eral campaign. Youth demands should be formulated and 
widely popularized. A corps of youth organizers should be 
developed. Youth committees should be set up in the organ- 
izing crew and in the local unions. Special meetings and mass 
delegate conferences of the youth should be held and atten- 
tion given to cultivating sports activities of various kinds 
among the youth. Systematic organizational campaigns 
should be directed to the youth members of the Y MC A 
and such organizations. The connections of the American 
Youth Congress should be utilized to organize the youth 
throughout the steel industry. 

5. Women. 

The women relatives of the steel workers are a vital factor 
in the steel industry. They should be organized into Ladies' 
Auxiliaries of the A.A. The most militant among them 
should be drawn into all the activities of the general organ- 
izing force. Special meetings and mass delegate conferences 
of women should be held with prominent speakers, special 
literature dealing with women's problems, etc. There should 
be a corps of women organizers in the field, and the women's 
clubs and other organizations in the steel industry should be 
stirred into constructive activity in the campaign. 

The steel corporations will make every effort to destroy 
the solidarity between the various groups of workers in the 


steel industry and thus to defeat them all by attempting to 
divide them upon political, racial, religious and national 
lines. In order to combat this campaign the essential thing 
is to keep the question of the economic demands and the 
need for a solid trade union aggressively in the forefront. 
Under no circumstances should the campaign leadership 
allow itself to be dragged from this main line and into 
abstract racial, religious, national and other questions. 

VI. Company Unions 

The company unions can with proper methods be devel- 
oped into a strong force for building the A.A. In this respect 
the work should be based upon the following general 
principles : 

(a) The organizing crew and A.A. must develop a strong 
initiative in the industry by an intense advocacy of its 
slogans and by very active organization work. In this manner 
the union must be made the center of all movements of the 
workers against the employers. To develop such an initiative 
by the union forces is fundamental. Only in this way can the 
union crystallize the discontent of the workers into union 
organization and reap the full advantage and credit for such 
concessions as may be given by the company either directly 
to the workers or through the company unions. Otherwise 
such concessions can have the effect of checking the cam- 
paign, as the employers plan them to do. 

(b) All activities within the company unions should be 
undertaken with flexible tactics in the sense of utilizing the 
company uniosis as an auxiliary force to the building of 
the trade union with the aim of eventually incorporating the 
company union membership into the A.A. In many cases the 
structure of the company unions can be readily transformed 
into trade union organizations. Many of the best company 


union leaders can be developed into leaders of the new 
steel union. 

(c) The general policy in the company unions should be 
directed towards bringing the masses into conflict with the 
bosses in order to awaken the workers' fighting spirit to 
demonstrate to even the most backward workers the insuf- 
ficiency of company unionism, and thus to give a stimulus 
to the campaign to organize the A.A. and thus to lay the 
basis for the maximum permanent advantages for the work- 
ers. This should be the policy, rather than to make important 
settlements through the company unions with the bosses and 
thus to create illusions that the company unions are effective 
and that the trade union is not necessary. 

(d) In submitting major demands to the companies 
therefore, the company union should put forward the main 
union demands and stand by them firmly, thus ^identifying 
themselves with the union organizing campaign and making 
clear to all the need of the trade union to back up these 
elementary demands. So far as possible all important con- 
cessions from the company should be won directly by the 
trade union or under its immediate leadership, in order to 
avoid the strengthening of company union illusions, 

(e) Minor shop demands should be freely submitted by 
the company unions, efforts being made at the same time to 
develop the local company union forces into shop grievance 
committees of a trade union character working in close 
cooperation with the A.A. Local strikes over these demands 
should be avoided, especially in the early stages of the cam- 
paign and in the major steel plants. 

(f) The organizing crew and the A.A. should give active 
support to all the major and minor demands submitted by 
the company unions to the employers. Only in this manner 
can the workers be made to understand that whatever con- 
cessions they may secure through the company union are 
due primarily to the activity and strength of the trade union 
organizing campaign. 



(g) In case of company union elections tickets should be 
put up of workers supporting the A.A. and the organizing 

(h) Efforts should be constantly made to have the com- 
pany unions in practice break with their narrow constitutions 
by holding mass local and district conferences, by issuing 
independent papers and bulletins, by meeting off company 
property, etc. 

(i) In cases where such a step is possible and practical, 
trade union speakers should be invited to company union 
meetings and vice-versa. Joint trade union-company union 
conferences should eventually become possible and necessary. 

(j) In all this work in the company unions the basic con- 
ditions for success are, first, for the organizing forces to 
maintain in the company union an active campaign of edu- 
cation, exposing the maneuvers of the companies and stress- 
ing the need for trade unionism and, secondly, to prosecute 
in the company unions an aggressive campaign of organiza- 
tion by recruiting key men, setting up of organizing com- 
mittees in shops, activizing of company union members, 
drawing in of company union representatives into trade 
union conferences, meetings, etc. 

(k) In working out the company union policy the great 
danger to avoid is that of the organizing forces of the trade 
union losing the initiative in the industry and hence the 
leadership of the masses to the company unions. The main 
source of this danger would be, first, failure of. the union 
to come forward militantly with the advocacy of its demands 
and with active organization work, and, second, for the union 
to take a stand-off attitude towards the company unions and 
thus fail to give them the necessary leadership. 


VII. Special Organization Work 

I. Unemployed — W.P.A. 

It is important that the strongest bond of solidarity be 
developed between the employed and unemployed steel work- 
ers. This is necessary in order to help the organization work 
at the present stage of the campaign and also to establish a 
complete unity in the eventuality of a strike. 

(a) The organizing forces and the A.A. should give 
active support to the demands of the unemployed and 
W.P.A. workers, and should extend support in building the 
Workers Alliance and other organizations of the unemployed 
and relief workers. 

(b) Representative unemployed workers should be en- 
gaged as steel union organizers and brought into all the trade 
union organizing committees. Volunteer organizers should 
also be recruited from among the unemployed and relief 

(c) Mass conferences, demonstrations, etc., of the unem- 
ployed should be stimulated to popularize and organize the 
steel campaign. 

(d) Representatives of the organizing crew should visit 
all organizations and meetings of the unemployed in order 
to make direct connections in behalf of the organizing 

2. Fraternal Organisations. 

These organizations play a vital role in the steel towns, 
especially among the foreign-born workers. It is very impor- 
tant to develop a strong educational and organizational cam- 
paign among them. Among the measures necessary are the 
following : 

(a) There should be national and local mass conferences 
held in which these organizations should recruit members 
for themselves as well as for the A.A. 


(b) There should be committees set up in the local organ- 
izations of these fraternal bodies in order systematically to 
recruit their steel worker members into the A.A. 

(c) There should be an exchange of speakers between 
the meetings of the fraternal organizations and of the union. 
They should also send fraternal delegates to each other's 
conferences and gatherings. 

(d) The fraternal organizations should assign organizers 
to the steel campaign. 

(e) The organization campaign should make free use of 
the halls of the fraternal organizations and, in cases of sup- 
pression of civil rights, these may be the only halls available. 

(f) Educational material on the steel drive should be sys- 
tematically furnished to the press of the fraternal organ- 

3. Churches. 

In many instances strongly favorable sentiment to the 
organization campaign will be found among the churches in 
the steel towns. This should be carefully systematized and 

(a) Organizers should be sent to the churches to speak 
from the pulpits. If possible, Labor Sundays should be or- 
ganized, with organizers speaking in many churches simul- 
taneously throughout the whole community. 

(b) Sympathetic priests and preachers should be invited 
to speak at meetings in the organization campaign. 

(c) Active work of recruitment should be developed in 
the local religious organizations, articles should be prepared 
for publication in the religious press, etc. 

(d) In case of suppression of civil rights, meetings may 
sometimes be held in church premises. 

4. Other Organisations. 

Steel organizing work along similar lines to the above can 
and should be carried on effectively in local branches of 


such organizations as the American Legion, the National 
Union for Social Justice, the Townsend movement, farmers' 
organizations, cooperatives, etc. 

In the steel towns the organizing crew should pay special 
attention to sending speakers into all organizations and meet- 
ings of professional and business men, in order to break 
down so far as possible the opposition of these elements to 
the organization of the steel workers. 


Reading Matter for Trade Unionists 

Unionizing Steel 


In this invaluable booklet the leaker of the 1919 Steel Strike 
brings forth the lessons of that great struggle to aid the present 
campaign among the steel workers. At the same time he analyzes 
the present situation and shows how today many more favorable 
factors exist than were present in 1919 for the organization of this 
all-important industry. 

Price 5 cents 

Industrial Unionism 


In this pamphlet on the major issue now facing the American 
labor movement, the author shows how craft unionism and the 
policies of the craft union leaders have failed to cope with the 
growing problems of the main bulk of the workers in American 
industry. Explaining how industrial unions can cope with these 
problems, Foster brings a heavy barrage of examples and proofs to 
the side of this progressive movement. 

Price 5 cents 

Order from your bookshop or from 


P. O. Box 148, Sta. D 

New York City 







55 a 

CO ** 




a •: 




VO ^ ** u 

•*> ^- NO «